Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging immediate action to address the growing visa backlog, which particularly affects the Asian American community.
The backlog: With over one-third of the 4 million people in the family-based immigration backlog hailing from Asia, lawmakers stressed the need for immigration system reform. The members of the CAPAC, led by Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), called on Biden to reallocate unused visa spots from the past two decades to family and employment-based categories as well as expand family-reunification parole to help families during the approval process.
“This backlog shows the inability of our immigration system to meet the needs of Americans as well as prospective immigrants,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter. “While we continue to work toward an immigration system that truly centers the needs of families, we ask your administration to act and help alleviate the pressures of a system that has long needed reform.”
Low issuance: The letter highlighted the low issuance of family-preference visas in fiscal year 2022, noting that only 165,642 of the 226,000 available family-preference visas were issued, emphasizing the structural issues in the immigration system. As immigration backlogs contribute to labor shortages, the lawmakers urged common-sense reforms to reunite families and alleviate pressures on the economy.
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“These common-sense reforms will reunite families that have been separated for far too long and will also help alleviate the pressures of continuing labor shortages and increased push factors causing individuals to seek a better life here in the United States,” they concluded. “As Members of CAPAC, we are committed to working with you to help reform our broken immigration system. However, as Congress is unlikely to act as quickly as the moment demands, we ask that you act to help reunite families and contribute to the economic and societal well-being of our country.”
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